Fantasy Football Preview: The Sleepers

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Every year, there is value to be found outside of the first few rounds in fantasy football drafts.

Last year it was Cam Newton, Victor Cruz, DeMarco Murray, Rob Gronkowski, & Jimmy Graham.

Here’s my stab at this year’s steals:  

Quarterback

John Skelton – forget about the couple of games that Skelton was flat-out bad last year.

He knows he is the starter and has had plenty of first-team reps in camp and the preseason. The Cardinals’ defense figures to be terrible again, so they will be airing it out plenty.

They added another threat in rookie WR Michael Floyd opposite Larry Fitzgerald.

We’re not talking about a great season, but 25 TDs & 4000 yds wouldn’t surprise me.

Jay Cutler – it took a while, but Chicago has finally given Cutler a playmaker in WR Brandon Marshall.

Along with possession receiver Earl Bennett, Devin Hester, and 2nd rd pick Alshon Jeffrey, the Bears passing game is poised for a big year.

Providing the seemingly always shaky OL keeps him upright, expect big things from Cutler this year.

I see 30 TDs and 4000 yds, which makes him a steal.

 

Running Back

BenJarvus Green-Ellis – Cincinnati is going to run the ball, and Bernard Scott is garbage.

BGE should get 15-20 carries a game and all the red zone touches. Book him for 1100 yds and 12 TDs

 

Doug Martin – LG Blount is already  in Greg Schiano’s doghouse, and on top of that he’s hurt.

Martin has not only won the job, he’s also the 3rd down back. He may not crack 1000 yds, but count on 60 + catches and 8 TDs.

 

Wide Receiver

Nate Washington – I don’t trust Kenny Britt to either stay healthy or stay out of trouble.

As such, Washington is the man once again in Tennessee. With the continued development of Jake Locker, I see no reason he can’t duplicate last years’s 74 – 1000 – 8 stat line.

 

Eric Decker – Demaryius Thomas gets all the WR ink in Denver, but Decker is the more proven wideout.

Unless Frankenstein’s neck has to go back to the lab for some more bolts, he stands to get a lot more balls his way this year. 75 – 1000 – 6 seems easily within reach.

 

Justin Blackmon – Yes, I know the QB is crap and Blackmon likes to get plastered & drive erratically.

But he is a playmaker, and most importantly (as of this writing) the only one on the roster. Despite getting into camp late, he has impressed in the preseason.

I’m not predicting Offensive ROTY, but someone has to catch the passes (that don’t skip off the ground) in that offense. 65 – 900 – 8.

 

Tight End

Jermaine Gresham – his first two seasons, Gresham has battled through some injury problems.

But when he has played, he’s been productive. A.J. Green is the only other decent receiver on the Bengals, so expect a healthy Gresham to step up and become a viable fantasy alternative.

I’m forecasting 75 – 800 – 10.

 

Defense/Special Teams

New York Jets – With all the hoopla surrounding Tebus & Snatchise, it’s easy to overlook the defense.

It wasn’t stout last year, but Laron Landry looks good alongside fellow newcomer Yeremiah Bell, who is also an upgrade. Factor in Muhammad Wilkerson’s expected development, and rookie DE Quinton Coples, and you have the makings of a potentially great defense.

Look at the schedule: MIA twice, IND, JAX, STL, SEA, TEN & ARZ. Plenty of wet-behind-the-ear QBs.

That’s a unit that figures to rack up plenty of fantasy points, despite their QBs undoubtedly putting them in plenty of tough situations.

 

 

Photo courtesy of bleacherreport.com

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